TM here - I know there are questions on why we did an in-breeding this time around. Since we had such a lovely litter last time, why didn't we just go back to Dickens? I posted this on a closed site, but I wanted to add to it a little.
bred Lowri to her Dickens' son, Kevin. She is due approximately November 21. She is obviously pregnant. But why did we do it? It was not an "oops" breeding. It was not because "gee, we had both the dog and the bitch." It was a long, well thought-out plan with a bunch of things (tests) that had to happen just right.
First of all is the health testing. For Lowri: She is DM clear, PRA
clear, carries fluff and is OFA Fair. Kevin is DM clear, PRA clear,
fluff-free, carries pink and prelim'ed OFA Good. Kevin is DNA tested for all of it. Lowri is DNA tested for all of it, but line-cleared on DM (both her parents were tested clear). While all the health tests
are good, they do not explain WHY we did this breeding.
We did an outcross
breeding by taking Lowri (an outcross) to Dickens (an outcross
himself). In six generations there are almost no similar dogs. We did
that breeding after looking at Lowri, her litter mates, her sire and dam
and some of their litter mates. We evaluated her strengths and weaknesses.
We wanted to breed her to a
moderate-sized male of the same phenotype.
We looked at
several dogs. We looked at their health testing, their size, their
siblings and their parents. We didn't want a superstar who came from an otherwise average litter. We wanted a dog who came from parents with good structure. We wanted a dog who had produced well. Dickens was the best choice for Lowri.
We got a litter of six. They were similar. It wasn't a litter with one superstar. They were all very, very nice. Five of the six went to our National Specialty at six months of age (the sixth is a gorgeous, long-coat boy who is not being shown). All five placed in their classes. So there was one test - and Kevin passed.
We did health testing on Kevin. He passed those tests. We
looked at Lowri's hip xrays (the heads of her femurs are fairly flat).
Kevin's were better in all regards. Most important to us was that his
femur heads are not flat. They are nicely curved. Had they been flat, we would not have done the breeding. That was not something we wanted to cement into our line.
Kevin should mature at
36-37 pounds. That is a little bigger than I wanted, but still not bad.
He has a better shoulder assembly than Lowri does. He toes out more than
she does in front, but part of that is due to injury (jumping off a
table onto concrete). Both have lovely bone and feet. Head planes are good. His fill of the muzzle is better than hers. Kevin has a correct, harsh coat. Lowri's is a little
softer. Both have strong secondary sex characteristics. Looking at them both structurally, we would not be taking a step backward with this breeding from either the dog's side or the bitch's side. They are both bringing good things to the table - and compliment each other well. Things to watch are ears (both have smaller ears), and both are on the upper side of - but within - the standard weightwise.
Temperament on both is good. Lowri's is excellent and she is a total
show dog. Kevin is more interesting. He does not want to be touched by
strangers, and isn't the showman that she is; but the dog is not "soft"
at all. I have had soft, flaky dogs and he just isn't. Lowri is exactly what you want in a show dog. If food is available, she is "ON". Kevin appears to be exactly what I want in a herding dog that I will also show. He works stock in a quieter fashion and actually takes direction. Lowri likes herding her way.
Taking all that together, we decided to breed them and see what
happens. We will have a great idea in just over three weeks. Then as
they grow, we will see if it worked out like we wanted. What we know for
sure is that they will all be PRA and DM Clear. There will be no fluffs
(potential carriers), no pinks (potential carriers) and no blacks
In general, I am opposed to doing an in-breeding. This is the
first one I have done in 35 years in dogs. In general, I am fairly
opposed to doing a lot of close line-breeding as Dora, Angus and Kearney were
all closely line-bred and closely related to each other. All three died of cancer at young ages.